NamelakaPosted: January 30, 2017
I’d like to introduce you to a rather fabulous multi-purpose ingredient, developed and created in the L’Ecole du Grand Chocolate Valrhona test kitchens: Namelaka. It was actually developed several years ago, but seems not to have caused much of a ripple since then, with the exception of in Italy, where it appears to be very popular.
It’s name (pronounced namma-lakka) comes from the Japanese for creamy/smooth and it is a fabulous cross between a ganache and a crème pâtissière. It has the smoothness of a pastry cream, but the richness of a ganache and can boast a whole host of uses.
As you can see from the photo, it holds its shape beautifully when piped, which makes it perfect for tart and pastry fillings and decoration. It is especially fine in filling choux pastry items such as eclairs, profiteroles, cream puffs and croquembouche. You can use it to decorate the tops of cakes or to sandwich them together, both large and small, and it can also be served as a dessert itself, in small, ladylike portions, with some granola or crushed biscuits adding texture.
One of the great aspects of namelaka is the possibility of adding additional flavours to complement the finished cream by infusing the milk before use. What you use is limited only by your imagination: the zest of any of the numerous citrus fruits, instant coffee granules, freeze-fried fruit powders, teas, freshly ground spices, tonka bean, praline… the list goes on. The only downside of namelaka cream is the need to make it a full day before required, as it needs time to chill thoroughly before use.
For serving in its most light and delicate form, I recommend just a single leaf of gelatine and using whipping cream. An almost mousse-like consistency can be achieved by using 2 leaves of gelatine and double cream, and then whisking it briefly after chilling overnight.
White Chocolate Namelaka Cream
170g white chocolate
1 sheet of leaf gelatine/2 sheets
100ml whole milk
5ml liquid glucose
200ml whipping cream/double cream
- Melt the white chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl over simmering water.
- Put the sheet of gelatine in cold water to bloom.
- Heat the milk and glucose in a pan until almost boiling.
- Add the bloomed gelatine to the milk and stir to dissolve.
- Pour 1/3 of the hot milk mixture onto the melted chocolate and stir to incorporate.
- Add the remaining milk and repeat.
- Add the whipping cream and mix thoroughly.
- Briefly use an immersion blender to ensure mixture is thoroughly amalgamated.
- Cover with cling film and chill for 24 hours before using.
- If using 2 sheets of gelatine and double cream, whisk briefly after chilling before use. Or not. As you like.
For milk chocolate praline: add 75g praline paste when melting the milk chocolate
For flavouring with citrus: Use the zest of 1 fruit in the milk and allow to infuse for 15 minutes once heated. Strain out the zest and reheat before mixing.
For flavouring with Tonka bean: ½ a bean grated on a microplane is plenty. Infuse as above.
For spices: Use whole spices for preference (easer to fish out) and infuse as for the citrus zest.
In case you missed it:
This week on DejaFood.uk: Robert May’s Chicken Pie